Refining Revelations

I have much to be thankful for this season.  Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about how specifically thankful I am for God’s relentless pursuit of us and His dedication to our growth and refinement.

I’ve gone through some major refining moments in recent weeks and months in the mission field.  Areas of character that needed refining. Areas of past hurt that needed healing.  There’s nothing like the mission field and living in tight community to reveal your weakest points.

In the process, I’ve come to know on a deeper and more personal level just how much God desires for us to live securely as children of a powerful, constant, forgiving, loving Father.   I’ve learned that it is only out of that security of daughter and sonship that we can truly be a reflection of His character in loving those around us.

I’ve been hurt in relationships and I’ve also done my share of inflicting hurt.  My response to those times is to try with everything I have and everything I know to fix it.  To reconcile.  To win forgiveness and regain affection. I desperately try to figure out how I could love better or to be more lovable.

But I realized in one of my recent failures to love well that my desperate desire to figure out how to do better and avoid failure is misdirected effort.

We know well the command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  But I think too often we get the order wrong.  We think we have to figure out how to love our neighbors well in order to prove we love God.

The good news is that God doesn’t command us to love well and then leave us to our own understanding of the word and our own devices to carry it out.  In fact, I would venture to say that it’s pretty arrogant to think we can attain to God’s standard of loving people through our own devices.  I know I’m guilty of that arrogance.  I often think that because I’ve been given so much, I owe God a superior performance of doing well and loving well considering what He has given me.

Yikes.

In expending effort to figure out ourselves how to love well, we miss out on the very source of love that is designed to reduce our tendency to fail.

In focusing on the mystery of GOD, in venturing to imagine the width, length, depth, breadth of His love, and in allowing that love to penetrate our hearts, we begin naturally to reflect His love.

This is what it means to obey His command to love.

The more we love Him, the more intently we are willing to look at and to Him.  The deeper we see Him, the more accurate our reflection of Him and of His love.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t fail.  It doesn’t mean that we’ll stop hurting others or being hurt.  We’re human, and those failures can be beautiful and necessary tools of growth and refinement as well as reminders of our need for grace.

But both between and during those times of failure, we are called to seek relentlessly the face of God, to rest securely in His love, and be reminded that we can love only as much as we know and reflect His.

No more pressure to perform.  No more fear of failure.  Just a reminder to remember whose you are and to step out in faith and confidence to love well in light of that.

 

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  • Comments (2)
    • Jen Duncan
    • November 27th, 2010

    I LOVE this Cori! Such a great reminder and takes out the “striving” that WE so often try to do. It places the focus upward on God who is able to do exceedingly more than we could ask or think- rather than meek us, who can do nothing without God. Thank you for the reminder…I’m so encouraged by you and your writing and pictures!
    Much love,
    Jen Duncan

    • Kelli
    • January 7th, 2011

    Have I told you in the last 8 hours that you’re amazing? Because you are. I LOVE this post, and I love how much you bless me with our open conversations.
    Hugs forever!

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